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february 10, 2011

Tom & Lisa

I am woefully behind with the prompts, but I’m just going to assume that they are merely suggestions, rather than strict lines to stay within.

Tonight, my family is on my mind and in my heart. 

As I have talked about in prior posts, my cousin’s wife, Lisa, has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  Our family has been relatively lucky, in that we have not had to face cancer before.  We’re a fairly healthy lot, with nothing more than your average, getting older-type complaints.

Lisa found lumps in her breast almost a year ago, and consulted with her obgyn.  At the time, the doctor ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound; but, they came back inconclusive.  She sort of pushed this off, and essentially took a wait & see attitude.  Lisa persisted, and finally went to an oncologist.  After needle biopsies, the worst was confirmed.

As she is trying to prepare herself for surgery on Monday, she’s currently fighting a cold.  Their almost-four year old daughter has come down with pneumonia, one of their dogs had an accident & lost an eye, their car has broken down & left Lisa stuck, and Lisa is praying that her cold stays minor enough she doesn’t have to take antibiotics.  Antibiotics mean postponement.

Suddenly, we are all getting a crash course in cancer.  Man.  What a crappy thing to have to learn.

We met Lisa & the three-year old for dinner about a week and a half ago.  At one point, with her daughter snuggled in her lap, we watched them share a quiet, gentle moment.  After dinner, my son, just a few months shy of thirteen, broke down.  He cried the whole way home.  The only thing that I could do was let him cry and just hug him hard, crying right along with him.

The prognosis for Lisa’s treatment & recovery is very good, but there is a shadow that hangs over all of this.  With two very close friends of their family dying recently from breast cancer, things take on a very scary, very serious undertone, and the fear claws at the throat.

All of the sudden, our world has come into very sharp, very narrow focus, and it’s hard to pay attention to things outside of this little family.

I have talked to my mother, and several cousins, as well as to Lisa via phone, text and email throughout the day.  We are all cautiously mobilizing the troops, figuring out babysitting rotations, cleaning schedules, how we can best help care for Lisa physically.  Tom is going to have his hands full, and in our family, it seems to be the women that are the Steel Magnolias.  It’s the women that will cook, clean, help give the girls some sense of normalcy and help Lisa dress wounds, move around and recover.

It’s certainly not about me right now, but as I sit here in the dark, with my laptop on my lap, thinking about the possibility of life without my friend…

I just want Lisa to be okay.